Fulton's contribution to the Industrial Revolution was his invention of the steamboat in 1807. The steamboat revolutionized travel on the river because the boats used a steam engine to move themselves, cargo and passengers up the river on its own power. His first boat, the Clermont traveled from New York to Albany, along the Hudson River, in just 32 hours, which was 64 hours faster than the standard travel methods.
Fulton's ability to adapt James Watt's steam engine and create the steamboat that both worked with the engine and a paddle changed much for the new industrial era that was happening across the world. The creation of this boat meant that not only could time and money be saved on shipping items from one location to another, but people could travel in safety and comfort. Before Fulton's boat became a success most river travel was accomplished on flatboats. These flat open boats left any passengers and workers mostly exposed to the elements and attacks. It was also extremely slow because the flatboats relied on the river to move them or the strength of someone to pull or push them up the river. These new boats meant that the boats could become a form of travel for people as well as cargo on the rivers by providing room and board on the river boats.